Reliability of the Emergency Severity Index : Meta-analysis

Amir Mirhaghi, Abbas Heydari, Reza Mazlom, Farzaneh Hasanzadeh

Abstract


Objectives: Although triage systems based on the Emergency Severity Index (ESI) have many advantages in terms of simplicity and clarity, previous research has questioned their reliability in practice. Therefore, the aim of this meta-analysis was to determine the reliability of ESI triage scales. Methods: This metaanalysis was performed in March 2014. Electronic research databases were searched and articles conforming to the Guidelines for Reporting Reliability and Agreement Studies were selected. Two researchers independently examined selected abstracts. Data were extracted in the following categories: version of scale (latest/older), participants (adult/paediatric), raters (nurse, physician or expert), method of reliability (intra/inter-rater), reliability statistics (weighted/unweighted kappa) and the origin and publication year of the study. The effect size was obtained by the Z-transformation of reliability coefficients. Data were pooled with random-effects models and a meta-regression was performed based on the method of moments estimator. Results: A total of 19 studies from six countries were included in the analysis. The pooled coefficient for the ESI triage scales was substantial at 0.791 (95% confidence interval: 0.787‒0.795). Agreement was higher with the latest and adult versions of the scale and among expert raters, compared to agreement with older and paediatric versions of the scales and with other groups of raters, respectively. Conclusion: ESI triage scales showed an acceptable level of overall reliability. However, ESI scales require more development in order to see full agreement from all rater groups. Further studies concentrating on other aspects of reliability assessment are needed.



Keywords


Triage; Emergency Treatment; Algorithm; Reliability and Validity; Meta-Analysis.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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